§ Dr. Michael Clark
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will make a statement on the funding of the National Heritage Memorial Fund.
§ Mr. Ridley
Since its creation in 1980 the National Heritage Memorial Fund has played a significant role in safeguarding our heritage by acting as a channel of finance for the preservation or acquisition of items of outstanding merit which might otherwise be lost to the nation. We have made this possible with grant-in-aid to the fund totalling some £83 million to date, including an initial endowment of £12.4 million.
To enable the fund to continue with its valuable work I propose to make an additional £20 million available to it in this financial year, subject to parliamentary approval. With these extra resources the trustees of the fund will be able to maintain their present level of activity whilst restoring the fund's reserves to their original value in real terms.
Annual support from my Department and the Office of Arts and Libraries will continue at the present level of £3 million.